Well this is somewhat unexpected. The Social Democratic and Labour Party, the minority nationalist grouping in the UK-administrated Six Counties, has issued a call for a referendum on the reunification of Ireland during today’s manifesto launch in Belfast. From the Irish Times:
The leader of the SDLP has said a Border poll on a united Ireland should be called after the Brexit negotiations are concluded.
Launching his party’s Westminster election manifesto in Belfast on Tuesday, Colum Eastwood said a referendum on Irish unity would “need to happen after Brexit”.
He did not give a specific date for a plebiscite, but suggested it should take place when the negotiations on taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union are completed.
“While others were waving banners, the SDLP made the prospect of a successful unity referendum much more possible because a Border poll is no longer solely the project of Irish nationalism but of pro-European internationalism,” he added.
Unfortunately, the document itself, the “SDLP Westminster Election Manifesto. Taking Our Seats, Taking A Stand“, contains no mention of a plebiscite (as far as I can see in its poor image-only PDF). Instead the publication is largely devoted to throwing sly digs at nationalist rivals, Sinn Féin, while making some risible claims of influence in the United Kingdom’s parliament. Though the party leader, Colum Eastwood, has tentatively floated the “border poll” suggestion in recent months this is his most explicit statement on the issue. Yet even here, his words seem to carry hidden caveats. The absence of a plebiscite pledge in the thirty-page document gives the impression that the whole thing is simply a political stunt to attract attention and nationalist votes in the run-up to polling day in the north-east.